Google Drive IconSource: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central

What you need to know

  • Google today announced Google Drive for desktop, a unified sync client for businesses and consumers alike.
  • It will rename Drive File Stream to Google Drive for desktop today, while Backup and Sync will remain independent.
  • Later in the year, Google will shutter Backup and Sync and move all users over to Drive for desktop.

Google is launching a unified desktop sync client for Windows and macOS later this year. Currently, there are two such sync apps. Google Drive File Stream if you're a business, or Google Backup and Sync if you're a consumer.

That's set to change in the coming months. Google will be replacing both apps with Google Drive for Desktop, a single unified app that'll work for both audiences.

Writing today, the Google Workspace team explained:

Some of our Google Workspace customers have deployed both sync solutions, which can be confusing for end users and challenging for IT departments to manage. To address this, we're planning to unify these sync clients later in 2021, bringing the most used features from both Drive File Stream and Backup and Sync to all of our users.

Little will change at the moment. Google's first movie will be renaming the Drive File Stream app to Google Drive for desktop. That should be live for all with version 45 of the app. Over the coming months, it will then slowly add consumer features from Backup and Sync to the Google Drive app. Once feature parity is reached, Backup and Sync will be killed, and all users will be pointed towards Google Drive for desktop.

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Google says that it will provide three months of notice before it forcibly transitions Backup and Sync users to Drive for Desktop. In the meantime, Google Workspace customers who're using Backup and Sync can now try out the new experience in beta before it rolls out to everyone.

Google notes that this beta is only available to Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, Enterprise Plus, G Suite Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers with the Backup and Sync client deployed. If you're a personal Google account user, there's nothing for you to do at this time.